Monthly Archives: December 2011

Double Negatives


Front & center in a new NFL commercial.


One of the basic tenets of grammar is the avoidance of double negatives; but they are featured in a new television commercial for the National Football League(…"I don't need no money; I don't need no fancy shoes…."


We all know that some of the worst grammar on television occurs on weekends during collegiate and professional football games — by commentators, as well as by interviewed players. But to have the NFL pay big money to produce promotional commercials with obviously bad grammar is shameful.



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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in Uncategorized




It's a three-syllable word.


The spelling and pronunciation should be no mistake…"national" — not "nashnle".


"It's revolting to hear this word mispronounced — reduced to two syllables — especially by a snooty-sounding Brit spokesman for a car-rental brand.


If somebody wants to butcher our English words, that comes with freedom, I suppose. But hearing a major corporation approving the butchery and supporting it with millions of advertising dollars is unconscionable. Let's leave their cars on the rental lot!

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Posted by on December 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


The Peculiar Brits


Our English Standard


I continue to be mystified about why our British friends pronounce some basic English words in their own peculiar way. They add a syllable that isn't there, or they delete a syllable that is. Examples:





Is there something spooky going on under the earth's surface that makes them do this? It's so difficult knowing how to speak proper English when our creators are mucking it up. They're our language role models; so this is very disturbing.

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Posted by on December 14, 2011 in Uncategorized




Where does the additional syllable come from?


My basic, logical brain tells me that the word "comrade" should naturally be extended to "comraderie" or "comradery" — not "comARaderie" or "comERaderie". Where does this "AR" or "ER" come from? I know that "ER" is a lovable movie space creature — or was that E.T.? — and also the title of a television series; but why is it a syllable in a word that doesn't merit or require another syllable?


It seems extremely goofy to me.

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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Uncategorized


“issues” vs. “problems”


They're not the same!


It seems that the term "issue" or "issues" has become a fashionable substitute for the word "problem" or "problems". I hear it all the time. Most often when a sports commentator is talking about some player's injury. They always say that the player has a "shoulder issue" — or "issue" with some other part of the body. WRONG!


The player has a physical PROBLEM. The only "issue" is how to deal with it…how to solve the PROBLEM.

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Posted by on December 11, 2011 in Uncategorized


“I was like…”


The airhead cancer!


The word "like" exploded onto the American scene via a TV culture of "Valley Girls" in the 1980s. But to hear a man in 2011 use the term, when talking about something, is revolting.


That airhead expression is still being used in television commercials for major brands, as well as news interviews with teens and clueless adults.


What does "like" contribute to the description or discussion? NOTHING. Anyone who talks like this gets slotted into my file as an AIRHEAD…ditzy, shallow, and too lazy to use good English. 


Once again, Hollywood comedy efforts have left a big cancerous stain on our language.

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Posted by on December 10, 2011 in Uncategorized


“premise” vs. “premises”


This is a repeat of an August 27th post to correct an oversight on one word…thanks to sharp-eyed reader Adam.

Notice to dumbasses of the world!


These are two of the most commonly misunderstood words in the English language; they're even used incorrectly in trade publications — by "professional" writers and editors, as well as on signage. The difference is very simple, so there should be no confusion.


The wrong usage…dumbass example:


premise A proposition upon which an argument is based or from which a conclusion is drawn.


premises 1. Land and the buildings on it.

          2. A building or part of a building.


The word "premises" is not a plural for "premise." Get over it…get with the program! Smarten-up your language skills — editors and everybody else!

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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Uncategorized


What is a “stummick”?


Apparently a central part of our bodies.


If you believe the pronunciation on some TV commercials about our STOMACH, you have good reason to say "What…where…why is a stummick?" Let's begin pronouncing it the way it's spelled…s-t-o-m-a-c-h.  Easy peasy.

The only thing worse than this aberrant pronunciation is any long-running soap opera sarcastically called "As the Stomach Turns".


There is no such thing as a "stummick", as far as I know.

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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Uncategorized




Are they different or the same?


I have always thought that they referred to the very same thing; and I just saw a news report on MSNBC about an FAA administrator resigning after he was arrested for "DWI"; while the words at the bottom of the screen said "DUI". The network's audio and video weren't in synch. 


DUI means "Driving Under the Influence" of alcohol. DWI means "Driving While Intoxicated." Is one worse than the other…is "intoxicated" more drunk than "under the influence"?


I don't have a clue, personally. But I wish the moniker monitors would settle on one, for the sake of simplicity, accuracy, and general understanding.

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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Uncategorized




It's a 3-syllable word.


A common-but-delicious spice…"sweet", hot, or smoked. So simple and so often mispronounced. It's no surprise to hear the Food Network's Paula Deen (Southern-twang-caricature mama) mispronounce anything; but this one has no excuses. 


It's not "pap-a-ri-ka"!  It has just 7 letters, not 8 — and only 3 syllables, if you're not counting.

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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Uncategorized